Edgar, Graham; Edgar, Helen and Pike, Graham (2021). Perception. In: Groome, David; Brace, Nicola; Edgar, Graham; Edgar, Helen; Eysenck, Michael; Gobet, Fernand; Law, Robin; Manly, Tom; Ness, Hayley; Pike, Graham; Scott, Sophie and Styles, Elizabeth eds. An Introduction to Cognitive Psychology: Processes and Disorders (4th Ed.). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 21–62.



This chapter provides an overview of a number of theories of perception, and reconciles the different theories to give an impression of how perception works. The basis of direct perception is that the sensory information available in the environment is so rich that it provides sufficient information to allow a person to move around and interact with the environment without the need for any top-down processing. Although Gibson’s theories may seem to present perception as rather simplistic, there is evidence that at least some part of the perceptual process may act in a ‘Gibsonian’ manner. The role of the dorsal pathway and ventral pathway appears to be similar to that of the visual ventral stream, and involves auditory object identification and speech perception. Although the visual and auditory dorsal and ventral streams run through different brain regions they do have some regions that are common to both.

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